A $795,000 settlement reached Friday is the latest consequence for the city as it continues to grapple with crimes committed by former San Diego Police Officer Anthony Arevalos.
The city agreed to pay that amount to a woman who said Arevalos sexually assaulted her in February 2010. Jane Roe, as she chose to be identified, was one of five women involved in charges against Arevalos for incidents between September 2009 and March 2011.
Arevalos faced allegations ranging from Roe’s complaint that he assaulted her in the back seat of a police car, to another woman’s account of sexual battery in the bathroom of a convenience store. A lawsuit against the city related to the latter case is still pending in federal court.
According to the San Diego Union-Tribune’s report, the settlement is the largest amount the city has paid in claims related to Arevalos’ crimes – $2.3 million total.
From the U-T:
“I feel relieved,” Roe said outside of court.
She said she was ready to go to trial if needed but settling the case was best for her and her family and avoided “dragging this out for years and years.”
“I feel this is fair for everyone,” she said.
Voice of San Diego dug into the case back in 2011. How high up did the police misconduct go? Arevalos’ former supervisor, Sgt. Kevin Friedman, testified that the officer had a reputation for arresting a high number of women, earning him the nickname “Las Colinas transport unit” in reference to the county jail for women.
Investigators later found lewd photos on Arevalos’ work computer he had taken of women while patrolling downtown, and then emailed to a fellow officer.
After the first complaint in February 2010, the department recommended prosecutors with the district attorney’s office bring charges against Arevalos. D.A. Bonnie Dumanis declined to do so, and police superiors sent him back out on patrol.
VOSD’s Keegan Kyle reported:
The Arevalos case also underscores many of the concerns that police acknowledged in the weeks following his arrest. Faced with year after year of budget cuts, Police Chief Bill Lansdowne has reduced internal oversight and left supervisors with less time to monitor for misconduct. Supervisors are considered the first line of defense for police misconduct.
With Arevalos, police knew of an allegation more than a year before he was arrested and fired. But he stayed on the job after the incident and retained the authority that prosecutors say he used to solicit sexual favors or assault five other women.
Arevalos was found guilty in November 2011 of eight felonies and four misdemeanors. His case was one of several highlighting police misdeeds that year. At the time, Police Chief Bill Landsdowne said a weak economy, budget cuts and officer stress were to blame.
It’s unclear how a department overhaul – Jeff Jordon, vice president of the San Diego Police Officers Association, told us a “massive turnover” looms – might affect that stress level.